Last summer I gave a paper at the Electronic Literature Organization conference, where I talked about doomscrolling—using my 2020 project The Endless Doomscroller alongside theories by Wendy Chun, Christian Andersen and Sören Pold, and many others—examining the role that platform interfaces have played in our last two years software-enabled collective descent into despair.
On the list of didn’t expect this, my social network Minus—and its descriptive tagline “finite social network”—was named technology trend #4 of 10 “to watch” by global marketing agency Wunderman Thompson in its annual and highly read trends report.
Read the full report, titled The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2022.
My solo exhibition Software for Less at arebyte Gallery, London received a significant amount of press. Here are links to a selection of it. Many are reviews of the show as a whole. Some are discussions about a specific work, such as Minus.
- The Guardian / Observer (UK): How artist Ben Grosser is cutting Mark Zuckerberg down to size.
- Ocula Magazine: Ben Grosser Wants to Mess with Your Socials
- CLOT Magazine (UK): Insight: Ben Grosser’s ‘Software for Less’, a space to reveal what the digital could become
- RTÉ (Ireland Public Radio) — Culture File: Software for Less (Parts 1/2/3)
- Franceinfo (French Public Radio): Ben Grosser a créé Minus, l’anti-Facebook qui limite le nombre de publications à 100 par utilisateur à vie
- la Repubblica (Italy): Minus è il social network che vuole farvi passare meno tempo online
- Fast Company (US): This new social network allows you 100 posts—for life
- Hyperallergic (US): An Exhibition That Helps Us Rethink Our Relationship to Facebook
- Gizmodo (US): Here’s an Idea: Everyone Only Gets 100 Posts
- Mashable (Italy): C’è un social in cui puoi pubblicare solo 100 post in tutta la tua vit
- Forbes (Brazil): Minus: qual a possibilidade de a nova rede de posts limitados dar certo
- Usbek & Rica (France): Les plateformes nous conditionnent à les voir comme des parties prenantes de nos vies
- Input Magazine: Minus is the anti-Twitter that grants you 100 posts for life
- Thai Rath Plus (Thailand): ต่อให้ ‘โซเชียลเน็ตเวิร์ก’ มินิมอลลง ก็ไม่ลดความหดหู่ บทเรียนจาก Minus งานทดลองของศิลปินอเมริกัน.
- FC Bnext (Taiwan): 只讓你發 100 篇貼文！社群媒體 Minus 限制發文次數，為現代社會帶來哪些反?
- [ANTI]MATERIA (Mexico): Semana 295_1 Software for Less
- ok diario (Spain): Minus, la red social que te deja publicar 100 posts y luego se cierra
- ifanr (China): 在这个社交平台，你一生只能发 100 条推文｜大航海家
- B9 (Brazil): Nova rede social se inspira no Facebook, mas permite apenas 100 posts para toda vida
- Tivi (Finland): Houkuttaisiko häipyä Facebookista? Ei mainoksia, ei algoritmeja, mutta…
- Nexo (Brazil): ‘Minus’: o projeto de arte que propõe uma rede social finita
- Kronen Zeitung (Austria): Soziales Netzwerk begrenzt Posting-Anzahl auf 100
- nlc (Hungary): A legújabb közösségi oldalon egész életedben csak százszor posztolhatsz
- Boing Boing: Minus is a finite social network where [you] have a limit of 100 posts—for life
- La Gazzetta del Pubblicitario (Italy): 100 post a vita: ecco Minus, il social media al confine tra esperimento mediatico e opera d’arte
- Cybersalon (UK): Wish you were here — Review of Ben Grosser’s new show ‘Software for Less.’
My work ORDER OF MAGNITUDE will be part of Through the Mesh at NeMe Arts Center in Limassol, Cyprus. Curated by Patrick Lichty, this exhibition “features the work of artists who initially began to investigate the cultural space of the networks, biopolitical and informatic; who challenge or jam it. The artworks look at electronic networks as scopophilic and performative, the asymmetric regimes of power they project, and the positive uses of “darkside” technologies. These areas of investigation open the media archaeologies of the panoptic network, its modalities, and the spaces of criticism, humour and progressivism. From the era of the Cold War in which the “net” was created to assure communication, Through the Mesh: Media, Borders, and Firewalls seeks to consider the conditions of the contemporary landscape and suggest progressive strategies for the future.”
As part of the exhibition, I spoke with artist/curator Patrick Lichty about Facebook/Meta as unchecked corporate power, FB’s Metaverse as the next wave in workplace hypersurveillance, shifting political ideologies in Silicon Valley, TikTok’s negative effects on sleep, and of course, more.
Through the Mesh opens 9 Dec 2021 and closes 20 Jan 2022.
I spoke about my social platform Minus with Renata Simões of TV Cultura (Brazil Public Television). The player should queue up at the start of our chat, but just in case it doesn’t, it’s 3 minutes in.
Several of my social media-related works, including Minus, Facebook Demetricator, Go Rando, and ORDER OF MAGNITUDE were the subject of a feature article at Fast Company:
… Grosser focuses on the cultural effects of social media, particularly the way it preys on users’ insecurities, taps into our desire for instant gratification, and is designed to be addictive. Over the past few weeks, his work has become increasingly relevant, as leaked internal documents and the recent testimony from whistleblower Frances Haugen reveal exactly how much Facebook knows about the damage its platform does.
… Facebook says it is exploring ways to reduce its negative effects on people’s well-being, through features like giving users the option to remove “likes” from posts. This is something Grosser began exploring a decade ago.
… Ultimately, the Minus platform is geared toward spurring conversation, since users could respond to posts freely. “The only way to gauge the success of your post was if there was a conversation in response to it,” Grosser says. “That’s how human interaction worked until social media. We didn’t go to parties and walk away with lists of numbers about how we were being seen. We had to listen to someone, think about what they had said, and respond if we felt compelled to.”
… Minus is a fascinating exploration into how social media might work if constant engagement were not at the center of the experience.
Read the article, which was written by Elizabeth Segran.